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Saturday, July 24, 1999 -- Eleanor
Putnam County Fair 10K Run & 3 Mile Walk
Story by Don Parks with photos by Don Parks and Lori Garbesi

[Coverage/Recap] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Bruce Blankenship
Bruce Blankenship, he just keeps going, and...
Nothing new, just another hot and humid morning in the middle of a West Virginia summer. The Putnam County fair grounds were no exception at 8:00am on the morning of July 24th. A great crowd arrived to participate in the Putnam County Fair 10K Run and 3 Mile Walk. The run and walk took place on very scenic paved rural roads that included a few hills.

One person in the crowd who was ready for another challenging Saturday morning was Bruce Blankenship. At the always young age of 47, Blankenship was taking part in his 400th career run dating back to 1982. Including everything from one mile races to ultras, he just keeps coming back for more. Something close to an average of two races a month for the last 17 years!

Jason Groves
Jason Groves has his feet, and head, on a winning track
While some are enjoying the race simply for the experience, the exercise, and the friends, others are in it to win. When the starting gun sounded, it didn't take too long for Jason Groves to establish himself as one of these folks. Groves quickly moved to the front and then began to separate himself from the rest of the pack. He took his lead all the way to the finish for a winning time of 38:09. Groves, coming of a self-proclaimed poor outing in his last race, said "I didn't have my head in that race, but I did today."

Keeping his eye on Groves, but never able to close the gap, was James Shock who was running in his first 10K in 4 years since injuring his achilles. Shock was able to finally break away from a pack of runners around the 3-mile mark. Shock held the second spot from there to the finish with a time of 38:39.

Kayla Lester
Kayla Lester wins on her first try
The battle for third saw Ron Wilson (38:52) come from behind as he used the middle of the race to overtake Les Miller (39:38), who finished fifth. He continued his steady pace to next overtake the fourth place finisher, Jeff Jordan (39:35), during the fifth mile.

The women's competition was dominated by Kayla Lester (45:40), the youngest female at 16-years-old. Even more impressive is the fact that it was her first competitive 10K race. "They tricked me into this, I thought it was a 5K," she said speaking about her fellow runners who had talked her into racing. Nice trick, and we can only hope to see more of her at future races. Taking second place was Karen Huffman (50:09) with Jessica Fisher (53:17) taking third.

Glenn and Jeanne
Hot? Maybe... Fun? Definitely!
Plenty of food and drinks were waiting for the finishers as they completed their morning jaunt. With everyone in possession of a new T-shirt, and awards handed out to many, it was nothing less than another great race in Eleanor, "West Virginia's Cleanest City." But it wouldn't be possible without great volunteer support that included a helping hand from the Putnam County EMS, Eleanor Police Department and Security One (the Putnam County Fair security guys.) Thanks everybody!